School of Rock actor Kevin Clark has died in a horror crash after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Chicago on Wednesday morning.
The 32-year-old was best known for playing Freddy Jones in the classic 2003 Jack Black comedy movie, and had reunited with the cast in 2013 and 2018 respectively.
According to TMZ, the former actor was riding his bicycle on the Northwest Side of Chicago early Wednesday, when he was hit by a driver in a Hyundai Sonata.
A 20-year-old woman was said to be behind the wheel of the car that struck and killed Clark at 1.20am according to police. The woman has not been arrested, but she has been issued with citations.
The drummer had just formed a band, Jess Bess and the Intentions, which performed live for the first time on Saturday.
His mother Allison Clark said: ‘He told his bandmates just yesterday: ‘You know, this is finally the life I want to live. And we’re going to make it. You’re my musical family — my family — and we’re all going to make it.”
School of Rock child star Kevin Clark dead at 32: Actor fatally hit by motorist while riding his bicycle in Chicago (pictured left in the movie with Jack Black)
Per a report from the Cook County Medical Examiner, Clark was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead at 2:04pm (CDT).
Once in a lifetime: Kevin Clark at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival
His sister said the former child star was on his way home at the time of the accident.
Paramedics found him at Logan Boulevard and then took him to Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Jack Black was one of the first to pay tribute to Clark, as he posted pictures of them together on his official Instagram.
Black wrote: ‘Devastating news. Kevin is gone. Way too soon. Beautiful soul. So many great memories. Heartbroken. Sending love to his family and the whole School of Rock community.’
Fellow costar Miranda Cosgrove, who played the precocious band manager and class factotum Summer Hathaway and later starred in iCarly and Drake and Josh, wrote: ‘Stunned and saddened by this news today. The world lost an amazing soul.
‘I’ll always remember your spirit and how kind you were to me. I’ll never forget all the memories. You’ll always be missed Kevin.’
Rivkah Reyes, who played stony-faced bassist Katie, said: ‘Love you forever, spaz. I will never forget your hugs and your laugh and the sheer joy on your face when we’d run into each other in Chicago.
‘Thank you for always showing up for me with that “big brother I never had” energy.’
Born Kevin Alexander Clark in Highland Park, Illinois, the one-time actor had started playing the drums since the age of three, hitting pots and pans.
Mother Allison told the Chicago Sun Times: ‘He loved music. He’s just a raw talent. He’s got a heart of gold.’
His drumming skills lead him to Hollywood as he ended up being cast in the 2003 comedy alongside Jack Black, as student drummer Freddy Jones despite no previous acting experience.
A friend who played the piano recommended he audition after seeing an ad for 10-12 years who can play an instrument.
It would be his only movie role, but clearly it had a lasting effect on him – as he reunited with the movie’s star Black, 51, at a Tenacious D concert in Chicago in 2018.
‘Heartbroken’: Jack Black lead tributes to the former child star on Wednesday, and said that he was ‘sending love to his family and the whole School of Rock community’
He also reunited with the whole cast for a 10th anniversary special event in 2013.
The movie was a huge success when it was released in the fall of 2003, going on to rake in $131.3million at the box office, against a moderate $35million budget.
Black played struggling rock guitarist Dewey Finn in the film, who disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school, and forms a band of fifth-grade students.
Playing the drummer in the school band – Freddy ‘Spazzy McGee’ Jones – Clark would end up having a prominent role in the film, which he later revealed he only got because he could actually play the drums.
With his blonde spikey hair and impressive percussion skills, Clark’s character certainly stood out in the movie and was considered one of the cooler members of the band.
Reunited: Clark (right) posed with Jack Black (left) backstage at a Tenacious D concert in Chicago in 2018, staging a mini-reunion
Classic movie: Clark can be seen playing the drums in another scene from the film
He was aged 14 when he was cast as the pre-teen student in the Richard Linklater-directed film, but looked far younger thanks to his baby-face appearance.
Following the film’s success, Clark continued with his love of music, shying away from appearing in any other Hollywood films.
Instead, he formed the rock band Robbie Gold.
He is said to have then played in various other bands, and was most recently the drummer in a group called Jess Bess and the Intentions.
Hitting all the right notes: The young actor is seen posing in a promotional picture as Black plays the guitar
Breakout role: The former child actor (pictured center) is seen with Jack Black and co-stars Robert Tsai, Joey Gaydos Jr., Miranda Cosgrove and Rebecca Brown in 2003
World traveler: Clark is seen next to Black at the London premiere of School of Rock in 2003
First reunion: Clark (left) is seen with his co-stars Veronica Afflerbach and Jordan-Claire Green at the School Of Rock 10-Year Reunion screening at Paramount Theatre in 2013 in Austin, Texas
Tragically, the group are said to have played their first and last concert together on Saturday.
Previously discussing his decision to step away from acting and concentrate on music, Clark said: ‘Most of the kids left acting for other jobs.’
Adding: ‘No one expected me to still be playing, living in Highwood, and striving to be a rock star.’
Skilled: Clark (pictured above) went on to form the rock band Robbie Gold, and tragically the group are said to have played their last concert together on Saturday
In 2008, Jack Black had said that a sequel for School of Rock was being considered, director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin returning, but later admitted it would be ‘unlikely.’
The movie was turned into a stage musical when Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he had bought the rights to the film in 2013.
The musical received its world premiere on Broadway in December 2015, at the Winter Garden Theatre, with a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
Eventually closing on January 20, 2019, the stage adaptation grossed a staggering $160,145,109 over the course of 1,309 performances.
Rock on: Clark is said to played in various other bands, and was most recently the drummer in a group called Jessie Bess and the Intentions (pictured recently above)